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these strange steps

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Days pass in a blur.

It's not even the pills. It's just that literally every fucking day is the same. She wakes up, she eats (when she feels like it), she works out (when she feels like it), she watches a daytime television show with half an eye until it's time to run through a sound check (and why on earth those are going on daily, as opposed to just after her nights off, she doesn't know, but it's not worth asking), and then either does a show or falls asleep in front of the television.

Then, on Sunday, Puck knocks on her front door, and she drags herself off the couch, afghan wrapped around her shoulders, to go and tiredly open up for him.

Puck stares at her with a questioning, cautious look on his face, and then says, "She's in town."

"What? That's—wow, what a coincidence," Rachel says, in possibly the worst bout of acting she's produced since that disastrous musical they'd attempted to put on in sophomore year.

Back when she'd honestly believed that her career was more important than any personal relationship she could craft. It's been a long time, since then, and that's probably a large part of why her hand shakes when she holds it out to him, for the slip of paper that he's probably got in his pocket with Quinn's address on it.

Puck raises his eyebrows at the gesture, or maybe the unconvincing—well, everything. "Dude—"

"Puck, I swear; I will tell you all about this as soon as there's something to tell, okay?" she says, a little urgently, because she needs him to let this go.

When he gives her another look, she lowers her eyes. "Please don't push me on this right now. It's going to be hard enough to talk to her without—"

He sighs. "Okay. You're right, it's none of my business what you are or aren't doing with her, but just—be careful, yeah? Quinn is—"

"Neither of us have any idea what Quinn is or isn't anymore," Rachel says, brusquely.

His lips twist into a half-smile as he digs the address out of his pocket and hands it over to her. "I hope she's ready for you."

"Yeah. So do I," Rachel says, before closing the door again and leaning against it hard.

It's just four lines on a torn bit of envelope, but they practically feel like the only thing between her and a nervous breakdown right now.


It's late morning on Monday; Kurt thinks she's off with her personal trainer somewhere, jogging along a desert trail—and it's just such a relief that Kurt and nature don't mix, because no person with any sense of direction would have bought that line from her given that there isn't any such thing as a 'desert trail' anywhere near her house—and Puck is fielding all other questions for her, under the guise that she's taking a personal day to rest her voice.

It doesn't really matter whether anyone buys into that, or if it pisses anyone off. Her team can all yell at her for the rest of her life for bailing on yet another rehearsal and fucking up this show when it's supposed to function as her bridge to Hollywood.

She doesn't think it will change how she feels, or what her priorities are right now. Hell, she can barely bring herself to care, about how any of this is affecting her career.

It's been ages since she's even felt like there was something more to her life than her career. That's what gets her out of the rented house and into her rented Lexus. That's what has her getting out of her car, when she thinks she's in the right place.

Quinn's apartment block is on the outskirts of the city, in a neighborhood that Wikipedia describes as being up and coming and kind of bohemian hip.

Rachel has a really hard time picturing any of that in Vegas to begin with, let alone picturing Quinn in it, but it's as good a reminder as any that she doesn't really know what she's doing here. Or who she's here for.

She's probably in love. She's suspects she is, anyway, because she faintly remembers this kind of obsessive behavior from high school, when Finn Hudson had been the start and end of her existence, except it's amplified by this constant hunger that she never had for him.

It has to be something like love, but she's not sure what it's for. It could be Quinn from years ago, and it's probably at least Quinn's potential, but she can't honestly tell herself that she's in love with Quinn, because there are far too many things she doesn't know the first thing about when it comes to Quinn. Calling it love is stupid and self—deceiving.

Instead, she's calling it lunch.

Lunch is what she can handle, right now. Lunch is what Quinn proposed last week, as a compromise, so they should be able to navigate through it together. If they're lucky, they'll manage to have some sort of conversation that doesn't result in Rachel being bent over the back of Quinn's sofa—in her mind it's fabric, something cool like grey or ocean blue, and it will burn her skin every time she's pressed into it, but in a good way.

If she's honest, though, given the way Quinn's eyes burn into hers when she's not trying to keep her distance, lunch is probably going to segue with something exactly like that.

And God, she wants it. That makes it so hard to be rational about any decisions she should be making right now, for her own good. But what is she, even?

She hasn't been anything other than a performer in so long now that—

Well, maybe that's the common ground, between her and Quinn. Performance.

She sighs and opens her car door, before tentatively walking over to the front door of the complex and eyeing all the buzzers. There is a Q Fabray there, thankfully, and she wipes her hand on her jeans quickly before pressing the button, just once.

There's no answer, and Rachel leans the side of her head against the front door.

Then, she sits down on the steps in front of the building and gets out a torn, ratty paperback copy of Wicked; she's read it so many times that she almost has it memorized, but it's still the only thing that reminds her that even outside of her personal life, there are things she hasn't done yet.

Things that she really, really wanted, once upon a time.

Things that she might be able to teach herself to care about again, some day.


She feels Quinn before she sees her, getting out of a this-year's-model Beemer, and then freezing next to the car door for a few seconds before slamming it shut.

It shouldn't be possible for all the hair on Rachel's body to stand on end with Quinn still twenty feet away from her, but it happens anyway.

Quinn's expression goes from surprised to vaguely angry to detached in seconds, but—and this doesn't surprise Rachel—she doesn't back down. Other people would get back in their car and drive off, maybe sending a text message that boiled down to a fuck off, but not Quinn. Quinn just gathers a few paper bags full of groceries from the trunk and carries them over to the front door of her apartment complex.

"Aren't you worried you're going to be seen?" she asks, pointedly.

There's something about her voice that tells Rachel that she's not the only one who hasn't been able to put this—whatever it is—to the side. But there's a time to push, and then there's a time to just be to the point, and hope for the best.

"No," Rachel thus says, quietly.

Quinn stares at her for another moment and then says, "The keys are in my back pocket."

Rachel fishes them out without lingering and unlocks the front door on the second try, before mutely following Quinn up to the second floor.

"I'm not sure I want to invite you in," Quinn says, when they arrive in front of apartment 205.

"You don't have to," Rachel says, as steady as she can. She watches as Quinn nods towards the door anyway, and then slides a different key into that lock, before letting go and wringing her hands together. "I just wanted to offer an explanation."

Quinn's smile is wry. "What, you think you're the first person to have had some problems with my part-time job?"

"Quinn, it really—" Rachel starts to say, bone-weary and already feeling that dull pressure of being stuck in an unfamiliar place sneak upon her. There are not words for how crippling her condition is, and in the end all she ends up doing is opening up her purse and wrapping her hand around three different prescription bottles. "Did you study psychology, like you were going to?"

Quinn nods warily after a moment.

Rachel lifts her hand out of the purse and shows Quinn the three bottles and says, "The Paxil only helps about twenty percent of the time but I'm afraid to stop taking it; Propanolol makes me intensely nauseous but I take it every night before going on stage just because I can't handle the combination of the crowd and the adrenaline rush that comes with performing; and every time I even so much as think about leaving my house, or seeing you, I have to fight the urge to drown myself in Xanax. My therapist thinks I'm becoming dependent, which is therapy speak for you're completely fucked, Rachel." She fakes a smile after a few seconds, when Quinn's eyes flicker towards hers with a new understanding. "So, believe me. It's not about you."

"When?" Quinn asks, twisting the door handle and pushing it open.

"A long time ago," Rachel says, because it's true.

Quinn lowers her groceries to the floor, just around the corner from the door, and then closes it again, before looking at Rachel with what Rachel can only call a professional once-over. "You hide it well. I'm assuming the media would have picked up on it by now if you didn't."

"Yeah. I suppose I do, after all this time. To tell you the truth, I was out of my mind the first time I saw you. In Vegas, I mean," Rachel says, with a small laugh. "I'm—trying to be a little more present, now."

Quinn fishes her keys out of the door and then pauses, before very deliberately saying, "I'm not inviting you in." She holds up her hand when Rachel starts to speak and says, "It's not about you. It's about me. And I want us to—if we're going to try to actually have a conversation, I want it to be on neutral ground."

Rachel has been in therapy long enough to recognize an iron-willed defense mechanism when she sees one. "Okay."

"What are your limits? Condition-wise, I mean. Where can we go?" Quinn asks, before gesturing for Rachel to start walking back to the staircase.

"That diner was fine. Anywhere I'm going to be recognized is out of the question; no malls, no crowds, no signings," Rachel repeats off by rote. It's like a life mantra at this point.

Quinn nods carefully after a moment and says, "Would you be up for mezze at this Lebanese place that's three blocks down? It will be empty at this time of day."

Rachel shrugs. "I won't know until I try."

It's apt commentary on their entire situation.


They manage a conversation. Stiltedly, and Rachel suddenly feels more like she's in a counselor's office than that she's making a … a friend? Even with that uncertainty in mind, it's the closest thing they've had to semi-normal interaction in, well, ever.

"I'm surprised you're not more hair-trigger about intimacy," Quinn says, breaking off a piece of pita bread and swiping it through some hummus. "Not that neuropsychology is my specialism by any measure of the imagination, but, from what I remember—"

"Who says I'm not?" Rachel says, taking a sip of water just to not have to look at Quinn.

"You're not with me," Quinn points out.

"You're—from before," Rachel says, because it's the closest thing she can do to offer an explanation. "You also didn't know. It makes a difference, somehow."

Quinn nods after a moment, and Rachel watches her face; contemplative and withdrawn, but somehow more present than she has been since they met up again. It makes her look so lovely, and Rachel has to quickly eat an olive to stop herself from blurting out anything that she might regret—that might shatter this quiet peace they're building right now.

"What are you studying?" she asks next, because it's a nice, neutral question. "I checked the UNLV website and there is no mutilation major listed, so..."

Quinn chuckles briefly. "I majored in psychology as an undergraduate and am now getting a master's degree in forensic psychology. Hence why... I have to stress that I'm hardly an expert on conditions like yours."

"Because I'm not a serial killer?" Rachel quips, and Quinn's lips quirk up for a second.

"As far as I'm aware, anyway," she responds, before dabbing at her lips with the napkin. "My semi-awareness of agoraphobia is not professional anyway; I can sort of relate, albeit in a small way."

"Claustrophobia, right?"

At Quinn's nod, Rachel feels a need to retreat a little again; the fact that she knows these things about Quinn doesn't mean she knows Quinn. It's such a fine line to walk, but after a second she smiles. "So. Graduate school..."

"Yeah," Quinn sighs. "Feel free to analyze the fact that as soon as all expectations of me excelling at academia fell away, I actually realized I liked school."

"I don't want to analyze you, much," Rachel says. Her hand has been subconsciously inching across the table, and her fingertips are now just about in reach. She glances at Quinn's face before making just the briefest brush of contact. "I'd rather find out things because you tell me about them."

Quinn smiles faintly and says, "And there it is; Rachel Berry's inability to be anything but brutally honest."

"I was lying to all of us for the entirety of high school," Rachel reminds her.

"Keeping your sexual orientation a secret is not the kind of lying that makes you less honest," Quinn says, and covers Rachel's hand with her own, in a flash, before pulling back again.

That seems like an opening, and Rachel holds her breath for a second before asking one of the questions that's obviously been on her mind for a month now. "Are you out?"

"As what—a dancer or …" Quinn asks, before calmly taking a sip of water.

"I meant... as gay," Rachel sort of hushes, in a whisper.

"My friends know," Quinn says, after a second.

"Your parents?"

Quinn's mouth twists in an ugly way for a second and then she says, "I would've probably informed them by now if we still spoke, but we don't. Yours?"

Rachel glances at the table for a moment and then sighs. "No. They don't, because I don't want them to be sad about—what I'm doing."

"That being..." Quinn prompts.

It's strange, being in this state of complete discomfort—and feeling more exposed than she did when Quinn's mouth was buried between her legs, because while that was just as honest, as least she'd been prepared for it—while also being almost... okay.

It helps to remember that an instant fix-it is in her handbag, but she doesn't need the pills as a crutch right now. Quinn is just there. It's okay.

"Pretending I've been in love with Noah Puckerman for years," is how she finally puts it.

After, she studies Quinn's face, because this is the kind of honesty that gets her in trouble; not that Quinn doesn't already have career-ruining essentials on her, or that Quinn can't destroy her in other ways, but somehow this feels worse. Like she's betraying the mission she's been on for forever, and she's not even really sure if she'll get anything in return.

A strange look washes over Quinn's face at the Puck factoid, and Rachel bites her lip to not start apologizing or explaining. It's none of Quinn's business, really, but even so, Quinn sinks back in her chair, like suddenly the game has changed.

It takes Rachel a moment to realize why, and then the words slip from her without permission. "Does Beth know you're gay?"

Quinn fumbles her fork, and then stares at her with such shock and … is it contempt? Is it hurt? There is a really thin line, with her current companion, and Rachel holds her hand up in apology.

"I'm sorry. It's none of my business, but—"

"No. She does not," Quinn cuts her off, pursing her lips for a moment. "There has never been any reason to tell her."

"No serious girlfriends?" Rachel asks, relieved when the moment of brutish tension passes without any serious disruption to this otherwise relatively pleasant lunch.

Quinn shakes her head after a moment. "No."

"Is this where you say something like, I'm not really the relationship type?" Rachel prods, and Quinn smiles faintly.

"We all have our issues, Rachel."

It's hard for the girl with the three prescription bottles in her handbag to protest that statement, but something about the way Quinn doesn't look away at those words—like she's testing Rachel's ability to cope with any potential roadblocks—is oddly comforting.

For a month now, she's felt like a desperate screw-up, being toyed with like bait. The fact that Quinn might as well have just admitted that nobody has gotten close to getting an 'in', maybe ever, …

Well, that's a chance. It's more of one than Rachel thought she had, and after a second of hesitating she puts her cutlery back on the plate and flags down for the check.

"I can get it," Quinn says, and after seeing the Beemer and the apartment, Rachel knows it's the truth; but as much as she thrives on Quinn wearing the pants in bed, she's not without some measure of pride in how far she's made it.

"It's okay," she says, and produces a platinum card that has Quinn's lips flicker in and out of a smile in a second. "I'm obviously good for it as well."


After she signs the check, there's a moment of awkwardness, where they stare at each other.

This has been a lunch of equals, in a strange way; but that's definitely not how everything between them works, and so it's not really much of a surprise that after a few seconds, Quinn's eyes narrow dangerously.

"What are you doing the rest of the day?" she finally asks, in a tone of voice that turns Rachel's spine to liquid.

"I'm... due in tonight, for the performance. I'm free until about 5.30, though," she says, biting her lip at the interest that flashes through Quinn's eyes. "What about you?"

"I'm thinking about exploring," Quinn says, after a moment.

"Exploring what?"

"This," Quinn says, leveling her with a look that makes Rachel instantly wish they weren't in public.

"Come—you should come see the show," Rachel says, aimlessly. "I mean, I can get you on the guest list."

"I hate Celine Dion," Quinn says, completely casually, like Rachel isn't about to dissolve right in front of her. "No offense; I'm sure you're still a brilliant singer, but—no thank you."

"I don't care if you like my singing. What I know is that you like the idea of me on stage, soaking wet and thinking about all the ways in which you touched me just a few hours earlier," Rachel says, in a careless rush, her eyes still searching all of Quinn's face.

Quinn is out of the chair in a second and pulls Rachel up by her hand, somewhat roughly, but mostly just with purpose; and moments later, they're out in front of the restaurant, and Quinn's free hand is fumbling around for her car keys in her back pocket.

The Beemer responds with a honk, and Rachel licks her lips, hanging in a moment that won't change everything but—this is more real than they have been. More real than the comfort and anonymity of the club, and they're agreeing to do this together...

God, her brain short-circuits completely.

Quinn stares at the car for a moment and then says, "Where can we go will no one will see us?"

"I live in a remote house on the outskirts of town, and nobody in Vegas thinks I'm worth knowing," Rachel says, after a second. "I can't... promise that nobody will see us, but—"

Quinn looks back at her for a second, almost frowning. "And you're fine with … this just being invited into your house like that."

Rachel tries not to sigh, because it's starting to become very clear that Quinn's hang-ups about being recognized and together really have very little to do with Rachel's fame, or reputation, or … well, shit, she has no idea, but they're not about her. "It's a temporary home, if it makes you feel better. It might as well be a hotel."

At that, Quinn visibly relaxes. "Does your bed have a slatted headboard?" is the next thing out of her mouth, and Rachel actually gapes at her for a second, until Quinn half-grins and says, "Never mind. I can improvise."

"Yeah. I have no doubts," Rachel just about manages, before walking around to the passenger side and shakily sitting down in the seat there.


Their drive back to Rachel's is quiet, directions notwithstanding, but it's not a terrible silence.

It's just one rooted in the fact that this is new: a woman, in her house—her bed. And then it's a woman who wants to know about the qualities of her headboard, which...

The most Rachel can do is stare out the window and focus on the scenery, and on breathing, because if she sees Quinn's hands flexing around the steering wheel one more time, she might just off-road them by mounting Quinn right there, in the car.

That would definitely get media attention, and so instead she looks away and crosses her fingers that Vegas remains wholly disinterested in her life, and that Puck and Kurt have better things to do than show up uninvited today.

Really, it's her house, but she's never been so fucking frustrated at how infrequently 'hers' means anything in her life anymore; until Quinn reaches for her wrist, when they pull up the driveway, and forces her to look up.

That look, right there: that's definitely hers. To enjoy, and mull over, and remember.

Quinn opens her mouth, as if to talk, and then closes it again, before frowning. Rachel waits—for once in her life, it comes easy—and then startles when Quinn quietly says, "You're not a whore."

"I know," Rachel says, but it comes out a little questioningly.

"You're—your interest in sex, and your comfort with your own sexuality—those are good things," Quinn adds, after a moment, before pinning her with a very serious look. "It takes some people years to get to that kind of point. Some people never do. Don't apologize for knowing what you want, and don't ever be embarrassed about it. It's a blessing."

Rachel feels her breath catch, and then can't help the slightly concerned look that washes over her face. "Is... are you comfortable with what we're doing?"

Quinn averts her eyes at that and pulls the keys out of the ignition. "More or less," she says.

That admission is kind of a mood killer, and Rachel gnaws on her lip before twisting her wrist until she's just loosely holding Quinn's hand in hers. "It goes both ways, you know. Anything you don't want to do, even if I would like you too—"

"Rachel," Quinn murmurs, and then laughs weakly. "Regardless of how many doubts I have about … whether or not this is a good idea, given that you are famous, and clearly are having some... personal problems..."

Rachel winces at that description, but Quinn stops her with a squeeze of her fingers that borders on almost being too hard.

"And given that I have my own … baggage," Quinn adds, firmly, before raising her eyebrows as if to say, it's okay, all right? We're both incredibly fucked up. She sighs and laughs at the same time, before looking at her own lap and shaking her head. "Despite all of that, we are exceptionally compatible in bed."

Quinn's summary of what draws them together is not meant to be demeaning. She knows it, and in some ways she even knows that she's doing the same thing to Quinn, by diminishing her to that authority figure who orders her around and gets her off so hard she thinks it might kill her some days. They're tugging each other along, and that's the part of it that somehow makes it just about bearable.

Just about. But not really.

"Is that all you see, here? Compatibility in bed?" she asks, swallowing thickly.

Quinn's hand falls away from hers and runs through short, messy blonde hair after a moment, until Quinn tips her head back against the head rest. "I don't know. This is our first civil outing in the entire ten years we've known each other, and..." Quinn sighs, before looking at her with the most empathetic expression. "What do you want me to tell you? That this is going to work out wonderfully, for both of us? Because I can't, Rachel You're a risk. You're a risk because you're famous and I have secrets I want and need to keep, and you're a risk because despite your glib comments about how it's all fine, you're apparently self-medicating your way into a stupor, and you're a risk because..."

The words hang between them, and Rachel feels her throat close up uncomfortably; but damn it, she's not going to cry, because Quinn is right. "What else, Quinn? Just get it all out there."

Quinn closes her eyes, looks out the window at the ugly garden gnome on the corner of the front yard—more desert than grass—and then finally tightens her jaw, before forcing out a few more words.

"You're a risk because... every time you beg me to take you, all I can think is that this is the first time someone has actually understood me, and... I'm not a good person, Rachel. The things I want to do to you—"

"Bullshit. You're afraid of how much you like controlling me, and that's fine, but it doesn't make you a bad person," Rachel cuts her off, sharply; the sting of tears hardens her voice, but she can't help it.

Quinn swallows hard and then looks over. "Yeah? So you wouldn't have any problems telling your friends about how much you really just love it when I call you a desperate slut before forcing you to hold back on coming just because I can?"

Rachel blushes furiously—and curses herself for reacting viscerally to Quinn's words, as they're really not meant to produce that kind of reaction in her—and then says, firmly, "What we do together in bed is private, and between us and nobody else."

"Fine. Then, just between you and me—" Quinn says, before closing her eyes briefly. "I need this level of control, or I can't be with you. Or anyone. It might just be fun and games for you but—"

"It's not," Rachel interjects, quietly. "It's not—it's the only thing I've ever really gotten off on. Maybe it's because—of how I felt about you in high school, and how you treated me, or maybe I was just born this way. Either way, what matters is that I don't want to control you, Quinn. I have no desire to … change the way we work, together."

Quinn's eyes focus on her desperately, and apparently see what she needs to—confidence, in Rachel, for a change?—because after a second she nods. "Okay."

"That said," Rachel says, before taking a measured breath. "There is more than that to me, and there is more to us than that."

The corner of Quinn's mouth that she can see twitches at those words. "Yeah. That's where my concerns lie, believe it or not."

Apparently, Rachel isn't the only one capable of brutal honesty anymore.

"Is it that fucking horrifying to you that you might actually like me as a person?" Rachel asks, before she can stop herself.

Quinn looks over sharply at that, and opens her mouth to respond, but no words come out.

The pills jangle in her purse, crying out for her, but she forces herself to look at Quinn and not miss a single thought that passes over her face. "Is that what the problem is? That you don't hate me as much as you used to?"

"No," Quinn finally says, before looking away and reaching for the door handle. "It's not."

She's not going to get a better answer.


Ten minutes later, when Quinn's shrugging out of the last of her clothing before pushing her onto the bed, she's not really sure she even wants one.

"Grip the headboard," Quinn says, before kissing her, biting at her neck for just a moment—and it might mark, God, it might mark.

Rachel can barely even handle how quickly she gets wet at the idea of actually needing to cover up what Quinn's done to her—but then Quinn orders, "Don't let go", and it's all done; she's a soaked-through, shaking mess, and Quinn knows it.

The fact that Quinn knows only strings her up higher.

"Good girl," Quinn murmurs, shifting upwards from where she's straddling Rachel's hips, and then, within scant seconds, there are warm, slim thighs settling around Rachel's head.

Rachel almost swoons with emotion at this … this gesture. It has to be one, after Quinn's tense embarrassment about how much she needs to be in charge, because this position makes her vulnerable. Not that Quinn will surrender her ultimate control; she knows, instinctively, that Quinn is going to tell her, in explicit and sanity-destroying detail, just how she gets off, from this angle.

It's exactly right, Quinn sitting on her face like this. It's—oh, it's fucking perfect, Rachel thinks, and looks up at Quinn, looking down at her with a searching look on her face, until she finally just says, "Don't use your fingers until I tell you; and I like it slow. Take your time, Rachel."

Her eyes slip shut. Her mind just slips.

This thing between them, it's not real, per se. It's not a promise of anything more, and it's another rendition of the we really love fucking encounters they've had so far, but somehow it's just different enough—with Quinn, on top of her, ready to let go in front of her—that it matters.

She's going to savor every last moment of what she's doing right now: Quinn's taste, the trembling in Quinn's thighs, and the relentless way in which Quinn is seeking out her orgasm, hips rocking almost brutally up into Rachel's mouth.

Bursts of words slip from Quinn's lips, unconnected and random, and they make Rachel desperate to give her everything she can. Quinn's breathing grows heavy, and her palm presses hard against the wall behind Rachel's headboard, until her thighs start shaking and that palm drags down the wall like nails on a chalkboard.

Quinn breathes out Rachel's name, right before she comes, and Rachel feels it like a physical touch, everywhere.

It's a pretty lethal combination, the things that Quinn Fabray can still do to her without even really trying.

When Quinn lets herself sink back down onto the bed and Rachel rolls over to kiss her, deep and slow and in all the ways she's always wanted to kiss an eighteen year old girl with so much potential, she feels her heart rate spike again, just notching higher and higher.

She shifts on top of Quinn fully, watching as Quinn captures her wrists with one hand again—like a hello between them, at this point—and her own part in their interactions crystallizes again, just like that.

She takes a deep breath, locks her eyes with Quinn, and gives herself up as much as she can.

"Please. Just touch me."

Quinn's eyes flash at her request, and then she feels her legs being spread by Quinn's knees, exerting pressure against her thighs, and … oh.

For all the times she's thought about Quinn touching her in new, exciting and forceful ways, nothing prepares her for the way she melts when Quinn's hand just slides up between her legs, stroking ever so gently, while she's pressing long, hard kisses up against Rachel's neck.

It's the opposite of all of her fantasies, and the things they can admit they have in common out loud—but maybe it's what she should've been fantasizing about all along. Quinn's lips never stop moving, never stop pressing small, instructive words against whatever part of her they can reach, and when she gets close—when she can feel the slow build of Quinn's probing fingers hit a plateau that will only ever precede a peak—she lifts her head off of Quinn's shoulder just long enough to say, voice trembling, "I think we can be friends."

Quinn's low laughter sets her skin on fire. "Is this what friends do, Rachel?"

"Depends on the friends," she gasps.

Quinn's eyes focus on her slowly, her fingers stilling for just a second, until she says, "I'll come. To the show", which is not at all what Rachel was expecting her to say.

It has the same effect on both of them, though; her body curls inwards onto itself and she comes with a sigh, before pressing her face down onto Quinn's chest and listening to her heart beat. It jumps and skips all over the place, right up against Rachel's ribcage, hitting a crescendo when Quinn whispers her next desire right into her ear.

"I'm going to tie your hands to the headboard and eat you until you beg me to stop... and since we're friends now, maybe I'll actually stop, once the begging starts. What do you think?"

Rachel's eyes shoot back open, and as Quinn is flipping her over and reaching for a scarf that Rachel has draped over her nightstand, she starts to wonder if maybe she's not the only one who has no idea how they're supposed to not do this.

There's good ideas, and then there's bad ideas, and then there's Quinn's fingers running up her arms, stretching them out above her.

"I'm going to love watching you perform tonight, after what I'm about to do to you," Quinn murmurs at her. "You'll remember it, won't you?"

It's obviously a rhetorical question.

Like she's ever going to be able to forget.